How to Write an Academic Essay?


Guide for writing influential Academic Essays with easy to understand instructions and compelling tips. This article includes 7 powerful steps and 6 incredible tips for helping you to write better Academic essays.

For many students, learning to write an academic essay may seem like an extremely painful thing to do but the reality is that it is very simple. With these guidelines, any student can pull together a well prepared and enjoyable essay. This article will give the student guidelines that will help them craft excellent essays at both the high school and college level.


What Is An Academic Essay?

An academic essay is usually a response to a question posed by the instructor of a course. The instructor or teacher will generally ask the student to discuss or describe certain attributes of a given topic. This usually means supporting a certain view of a subject and making an argument around this. How the question is posed will guide the student on how and what kind of academic essay they will need to write.


If a student is unsure as to how to approach an essay question, most teachers will help to explain what is expected. It is advisable to take advantage of class time or approach the teacher after class to have the situation expounded on. Another way of tackling this situation is to look at previous but similar papers written for the same class to get an idea of what is expected. In some schools, these papers can be found in the library or the student will have to talk to students who have already passed the class to assist them. Remember that this is not an opportunity to plagiarize as there are high chances of being caught.

Instructions (Steps)

1. Analyze the Question

It is important to fully understand what the question is asking before answering. This is especially important when you are about to prepare a few thousand word essay in response. In some cases, the student may be given an open ended question that leaves them with more freedom in coming up with a topic. For instance, if asked to discuss characterization in one’s favourite classic piece of literature, the student has several choices to make including, the kind of literature to focus on, the favourite piece and the characters to discuss. A closed end question may ask the student to discuss the character evolution of Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In this case the topic of discussion has been narrowed down considerably.

2. Write an outline and thesis

The student should begin with the thesis. The thesis statement allows the student to offer their stand. It should be related to the question posed to by the teacher in the essay question. It also gives the student a direction in their writing. They can now focus on the main points that will direct the format and flow of the academic essay.

By charting out the outline, the student will have created the skeleton that they will flesh out in the actual writing of the essay. Here the student will provide enough key points to create a short introduction, three paragraphed body and small conclusion. This framework is very useful as a guide to follow when the student eventually gets down to the business of actually writing the essay.

3. Research

This depends on the situation. If the essay question is being posed in an exam situation, then a student will have to draw on the knowledge gained during coursework and their reading to answer the question to the best of their ability. If the essay is however an assignment, then the student has ample time to look up resources and detail them in the text of the academic essay.


The student may use recommended books or even look beyond. They should however not copy passage or sentences from the resources. They should be able to read and understand, then translate that understanding in their own words. Suitable referencing should be done here. A student should have made note of bibliography when conducting research.

4. Introduction

The introduction should explain to the teacher what the essay is about and some background on the topic to be discussed. The student should also indicate their thesis statement in this part of the academic essay.

5. Main text

Here the student will give explanation as to the key points that support the thesis statement. The basic main body is made up of three paragraphs but depending on the question and the number of points to be made these may be more or less.

6. Conclusion

The conclusion should tie together all that has been discussed from the introduction straight through into the body. It features a summary of the key points and in a few words shows how this supports the thesis statement made earlier.

7. Proofread

Here the student should take a break before reviewing the final draft of the academic essay. This gives them a chance to identify grammatical errors and make the necessary corrections. Failure to use proper grammar will still earn a student a penalty at whatever level of education they have reached.


1. Do not plagiarize

Do not plagiarize. This is the number one rule to academic writing. The student may do research and draw information and data from other publications, but this information must be properly referenced. Even if the conclusions drawn are similar to those of other writers, they must be rephrased and not copied out word for word. There are many online programs available to teachers, lecturers and professors that allow them to check if the content in an academic essay is plagiarized.

2. Do not rush at the last minute

Do not rush at the last minute. Students are generally given a generous amount of time within which they must submit an academic essay. They should set adequate time aside to tackle the work and take breaks in between. Time should be created for research to be done an even more time for the actual writing and review of the work.

3. Use proper English

Use proper English. Students should strive to stay away from the use of slang and short texting language. This will not be taken lightly by the teacher and can result in the overall grade being reduced. This is another reason why proofreading should be made a habit, preferably on a separate day than when the assay is completed. This allows the student to look at the essay with fresh eyes and easily identify errors.

4. Learning

Learning to write academic essays is an excellent chance for a student to flex their vocabulary muscle. If they find themselves making repetitions, this would be a great opportunity to dust off the thesaurus. Proofreading will help identify words that have been overused and clustered together in the text.

5 Format

Learn the preferred format of the teacher. When aiming to get a top grade in a course, it takes more than just learning everything there is to know about the subject. It is important to know how the teacher likes to see the academic essay presented. From font size to referencing style, the student should investigate or even simply ask in class what the teacher expects to see in submitted papers.

6. Parameters

Work within the parameters laid out. If the teacher has provided the subject, stick to it. Even if the student may find the subject to be discussed as boring or not relevant, it is a bad idea to deviate. If the teacher has asked for a two thousand word paper, do not present a three thousand word paper. That may provoke them to make estimations and eliminate the final third of the paper in marking.

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